Case: Planned Parenthood of Michigan v. Attorney General of Michigan

22-000044-MM | Michigan state trial court

Filed Date: April 7, 2022

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding in progress

Case Summary

This case is  plaintiffs’ effort to avoid the triggering of Michigan’s dormant anti-abortion . Michigan’s 1931 felony abortion law, MCL 750.14,  criminalizes providing an abortion in almost all circumstances and threatens physicians who perform the procedure with imprisonment. MCL 750.14 was never repealed; it has not been enforced because of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade holding that the U.S. Constitution protects the right to get an abortion. The Michigan Supreme Court has yet t…

This case is  plaintiffs’ effort to avoid the triggering of Michigan’s dormant anti-abortion . Michigan’s 1931 felony abortion law, MCL 750.14,  criminalizes providing an abortion in almost all circumstances and threatens physicians who perform the procedure with imprisonment. MCL 750.14 was never repealed; it has not been enforced because of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade holding that the U.S. Constitution protects the right to get an abortion. The Michigan Supreme Court has yet to address whether the Michigan Constitution protects the right to abortion. Recognizing the increasing likelihood that the U.S. Supreme Court would soon overturn Roe (as it did on June 24, 2022), Planned Parenthood of Michigan and a named abortion provider filed this suit in Michigan’s Court of Claims against the Michigan Attorney General on April 7, 2022. Plaintiffs are represented by Planned Parenthood of America, the ACLU of Michigan, and the University of Michigan Law School Civil Rights Litigation Initiative. On the same day, the Governor also filed a lawsuit on the same topic (see Whitmer v. Linderman). 

Arguing that MCL 750.14 is unconstitutionally vague and violates rights to liberty, bodily integrity, equal protection, and privacy under the Michigan Constitution, the complaint in this case sought declaratory relief and a preliminary injunction barring the statute’s enforcement while the suit is ongoing. The case was assigned to Judge Elizabeth L. Gleicher, a Court of Appeals judge currently serving on the Court of Claims.

Attorney General Dana Nessel responded to the complaint on May 5, 2022, agreeing that MCL 750.14 is unconstitutional but disagreeing with plaintiffs’ argument that her office was required to defend the statute’s constitutionality. The Attorney General pointed out that the Governor had already spoken out against MCL 750.14, and argued that it would be inconsistent with her public duty if she had to defend a law that “plainly” violates Michigan’s Constitution. Vowing neither to defend nor enforce the MCL 750.14, the Attorney General claimed that the case could not proceed because plaintiffs and she were on the same side.  

On May 17, 2022, Judge Gleicher issued a preliminary injunction protecting the right to abortion. Judge Gleicher found that the Attorney General’s unwillingness to agree to a preliminary injunction and plaintiffs’ need for a declaration to guide the conduct of Planned Parenthood physicians (who might otherwise face prosecution by county prosecutors or by a future Attorney General) created sufficient adversity for the court to issue a declaratory judgment. Judge Gleicher’s opinion emphasized Michigan’s right to bodily integrity as grounds for MCL 750.14’s unconstitutionality. The preliminary injunction preserved both the right to abortion and existing laws regulating abortion in Michigan while the case is ongoing. 2022 WL 2103141.

The Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan Senate filed a motion to intervene and for reconsideration of the preliminary injunction on June 6, 2022, although they had declined to intervene at the outset of the lawsuit. The Legislature argued that the preliminary injunction was improper because of a lack of controversy between plaintiffs and the Attorney General and unripe claims as no one was being denied an abortion or prosecuted under MCL 750.14.[2]  Plaintiffs did not object to the Legislature’s intervention but did oppose reconsideration of the preliminary injunction on the grounds that the Legislature had had ample opportunity to intervene before the preliminary injunction was ordered. Prior to the Legislature’s intervention, two anti-abortion organizations and two county prosecutors also filed a separate suit for superintending control, asking the Court of Appeals to take over the Court of Claims case. No final ruling has yet occurred on this motion.

Judge Gleicher granted the Legislature’s motion to intervene but declined to reconsider the preliminary injunction on June 15, 2022. She held that the Legislature had not met its burden of demonstrating that the preliminary injunction resulted in part from a significant error by the parties or court.

According to the briefing schedule, plaintiffs will file a motion for summary judgment seeking a permanent injunction in late June or early July of 2022. 

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court held in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that the U.S. Constitution does not support any special protection of abortion rights, overruling Roe v. Wade. Thus the preliminary injunction in this case now stands between those who provide abortions and possible state prosecution.

The case is ongoing.  

Summary Authors

Hannah Juge (6/21/2022)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

22-000044-MM

[State Court Trial Docket]

Planned Parenthood of Michigan v. Attorney General

June 22, 2022

June 22, 2022

Docket

22-000044-MM

Verfied Complaint

April 7, 2022

April 7, 2022

Complaint

22-000044-MM

Opinion and Order

Planned Parenthood of Michigan v. Attorney General of the State of Michigan

2022 WL 2103141

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

Order/Opinion

Complaint for Order of Superintending Control

In Re Jerard M. Jarzynka

Michigan state appellate court

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Complaint

Resources

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Michigan

Case Type(s):

Reproductive Issues

Special Collection(s):

Planned Parenthood Litigation

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 7, 2022

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Planned Parenthood of Michigan, which operates several facilities across the state, and a named abortion provider.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Attorney Organizations:

Michigan Clinical Law Program

ACLU of Michigan

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

Reproductive rights:

Complete abortion ban

General:

Abortion

Affected Gender:

Female

Medical/Mental Health:

Reproductive health care (including birth control, abortion, and others)

Type of Facility:

Non-government non-profit